Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 30: That's All Folks

What a fun month with Katie and the gang for the September blog challenge! I had a blast with all the prompts, and I blogged almost every day this month. Go me!

For our final post today, we are sharing a photo that we love. This has to be one of my favorite photos, taken by my friend Kristin at Lanari Photography. It just captures so much of Will at that point in time (6 months old). Sweet, tentative, curious, adorable... need I say more?

My love
Kristin and her husband are taking more family photos for us next week. I can't wait to see how they turn out!

Anyway, that's it for the September blog challenge! Thanks again to Katie for hosting. And thank you for reading! My apologies if you've gotten accustom to me writing every day. October is going to be a whole different story!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 29: Three Things

Today on the blog challenge we're sharing three things we can't live without. Aside from my loving husband and beautiful son, here are my top three:
  1. Coffee: Black only please! There's nothing better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning (or afternoon, or evening).
  2. MacBook Pro: My mom and step-dad gave me a beautiful MacBook Pro for Christmas last year. I love it. It's perfect for grad school, and I love how intuitive the operating system is. Team Mac all the way!
  3. Note Cards: I have a slight obsession with note cards. I probably have over a hundred blank note cards in my kitchen side board. I love handwriting notes to people, and insist on having cards on hand at all times. I just wrote a note to my cousin Jenny this morning!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 28: Favorite Books

Today on the blog challenge we're sharing our favorite books. I posted about my favorite fiction books and authors a few days ago, but I have a few other favorites I would like to share...

Nonfiction Book: Infidel (Aayan Hirsi Ali)

This book is incredibly compelling. It chronicles the author's youth growing up in the Middle East and Africa, her escape to the Netherlands to apply for political asylum, and her work in Dutch government. It reads like a novel, but it's based entirely on the author's life experience. It concludes with a really powerful dialogue about family, religion and citizenship.

Children's Book: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (Du Bose Heyward)

This was my favorite book as a child. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story is really powerful. In the book, the mother bunny works toward becoming the Easter Bunny while taking care of 21 children at home. The message is that young women can follow their dreams and have a family. Surprisingly, this modern feminist tale was written in 1939.

Classic Novel: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Fitzgerald is such an incredible writer. I love the way he sets a scene; I can always visualize his characters in specific detail. I was immediately hooked on Daisy Buchanan the first time I read the book, and I have a continuing love affair with the 1920s. A classic that will always be in our collection.

Gifted Book: Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach)

My dad got me this book when I was in high school. It's a fable about self-discovery and the pursuit of knowledge. The depths of this book are staggering. I continue to pick up on new themes and nuances each time I read it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 27: Three Wishes

We're sharing three wishes today on the blog challenge. Unsurprisingly, mine are all for my child.

Wishes for Will
  1. I wish you health and happiness, now and always.
  2. I wish you every opportunity in life.
  3. I wish you the confidence to always follow your dreams.
(I also wish you'd sleep through the night more often, but that's another story.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Missoni Mania

If you're like me, you were anxiously waiting the Missoni debut at Target a few weeks ago. I love the Italian designer's stuff, so I was really amped up to get some affordable pieces at my favorite discount retailer. Needless to say, I was really disappointed when I learned most of the merchandise sold out within 24 hours.

But wait! Look what I scored at our local Target yesterday...

Missoni cap-sleeve tunic and shift dress
That's right! Two Missoni dresses fresh from return. They fit like a dream and I adore the retro 60s vibe. I love having a piece of the collection, though I know the aesthetic isn't for everyone. What are your thoughts? Did you score any Missoni at Target?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 25: iPod Shuffle

I've been so excited for this one since I first peeked at the blog challenge list! Today we're putting our iPods on shuffle and sharing the first 10 songs. Here you go...
  1. Sunrise (Norah Jones)
  2. Last Beautiful Girl (Matchbox Twenty)
  3. Without You (Dixie Chicks)
  4. I Hate This Part Right Here (Pussycat Dolls)
  5. I'll Be There (Jackson 5)
  6. Freshman (Verve Pipe)
  7. King of Anything (Sara Bareilles)
  8. That's How You Know It's Love (Deanna Carter)
  9. Settle For A Slowdown (Dierks Bentley)
  10. Jet Lag (Joss Stone)

Yes, I have this exact same pink iPod. And the pictured
Nelly Furtado album, oddly enough.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 24: Shopping

Can you believe we only have a week to go on the blog challenge? Time flies when you're having fun!

Today we're talking shopping! Or more specifically our favorite places to shop. My top five are...

What can I say? I'm devoted to Target. I'm Minnesota-born, so it's in my blood (Target is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota). I always go to Target with a list, but leave with a hundred things I didn't know we needed! I love their housewares. I could look at sheets, pillows, towels, pots, and small appliances all day long.

Photo courtesy of Style Squad, via Google Images
Oh, Banana. In my pre-baby life, I was a Banana Republic Luxe Card member because I spent so much flippin' money there. Their clothes are polished and timeless. I love popping in to see what they have for work and play. They have such a great aesthetic.

I'm addicted to Baby Gap. They have the cutest boy clothes. Granted they're pricey, but if you wait for a sale or coupon offer, you can get really good deals. 

We love The Children's Place, especially their jammies. Will is really long and lean, so he drowns in most other sleepwear. But the Children's Place PJs are cut just right for him. We also buy a lot of Will's pants here. They're a little trimmer, so we can go up a size in length without having the pants fall off his cute cloth diapered bottom.

Photo courtesy of Kick
Kick is small shoe boutique in historic downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin (near where my parents live). Their shoes are ah-mazing. No joke. Plus, they carry up to size 11, which is really difficult to find. Their bricks and mortar store is darling, but they also have a great website. Help support small businesses and check them out!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 22: Hobbies

Today on the blog challenge we're talking hobbies. Between full-time graduate school, full-time motherhood and part-time work, I don't have much time for hobbies anymore. But one thing I always try and make time for is reading fiction.

I love fiction. I love getting to know a character and being transported to another time or place. I'm a fervent supporter of public libraries, so I try and borrow all my books. There's something really cool about reading a book that's part of a community collection. I always think about all the places these books have been. All the bedside tables, vacations and coffee shops. If library books could talk!

Some of my all-time favorite fiction writers and books are:
  • Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)
  • Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth, World Without End and Fall of Giants
  • Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
  • Nancy Horan (Loving Frank)
  • Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who trilogy)
  • Audrey Niffenegger (Time Travelers Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry)
  • Ann Patchett (Run and Bel Canto)
  • Garth Stein (Art of Racing in the Rain)
  • David Wroblewski (Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
I love recommendations, so if you have a favorite book or author, please let me know! I'd love to check it out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 21: Stress

Today on the blog challenge we're talking stress. The biggest stresser in my life right now is easily graduate school. Even though it's self-inflicted stress (hello, I'm choosing to do it!), that doesn't make it any less difficult.

This is my second year in my master's program, but my first year as a full-time student. Juggling classes, work, child care and my relationship isn't easy. Fortunately, Ben is a super supportive partner. He picks up the slack wherever he can... making dinner, doing laundry, taking care of Will. I really couldn't do it without him.

However, the end is in sight! I'm currently on track to graduate in December 2012, so I only have three semesters to go. I could go at a slower pace and alleviate some of my stress, but I really want to graduate before Ben and I have another baby. I just don't think I'll be able to finish my degree with two little ones at home. So I push onward. And dream about what I'll do with all that free time when I'm done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 20: Picture Yourself

Today on the blog challenge, we're sharing self-portraits. Here are a few I took with my favorite little guy a few days ago...

Being silly

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 19: Nicknames

My last post was a little heavy, so I needed a day off from the blog challenge! But I'm back today with a post about nicknames, or in my case, a lack thereof.

This has long been a point of contention with me. I've never had a nickname. Never. Isn't that weird? I tried to give myself one in college, but my friends weren't having it. So I remain nickname-less.

Some people try and tell me that Sam (short for Samantha) is a nickname, but I don't think so. A shortened name is not a nickname. A nickname is a term of endearment used by those who know you best. Of course, by my own definition, I guess Sammy could be a nickname. It's used only by my closest friends and family. But I was thinking more along the lines of "Dawg" or "Wang" (actual nicknames of some of my friends).

Thoughts? What experiences or events got you your nickname? Do you like your nickname or does it bother you?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 17: Regret

Today on the blog challenge, we're talking regret. I posted about regret a few months back, but I want to elaborate on an experience that was very personal and painful for me: postpartum depression.

I've shared a little about my postpartum depression before, but I've never really talked about my experience candidly. When I first revealed on this blog that I was struggling, I was shocked by the number of women that reached out to me to tell me I wasn't alone. Their stories and experiences were so comforting to me. I think it's important to put my experience out there as a way to pay that kindness forward.

This may be hard to read, but I don't think enough women talk candidly enough about postpartum depression. So I want to put my story out there. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It's hard to even explain how dark my life was after Will was born. I loved my baby. I was ecstatic he was here and healthy. But a profound and pervasive sadness consumed me. I had intense anxiety, so much so that I was unable to sleep at night. I felt compelled to do everything myself. Not because I didn't trust Ben or others to do it right, but because I felt it would mean I was a bad mother if I asked for help (of course, I understand this is ridiculous now).

I was constantly terrified that something was going to happen to Will. I saw potential danger everywhere. What if I left him alone in the bath tub and he drowned? (Well, duh. I'd never do that.) What if someone takes him out of my shopping cart at Target? (Again, never going to happen.)  What if the stroller gets hit by a car while we're crossing the street? (Ridiculous.)

I think all new mothers see the first few months as a blur, but I was a shell of a person going through the motions. Going out in social situations was torture. I was so afraid that someone I knew would be able to tell what a mess I was. I would obsess over safe topics to talk about before heading out with friends. People told me months later that I would always say the same things over and over. But that was because I was afraid that my worst secrets would come tumbling out of my mouth if I went off topic even for a second.

Here's the hard, honest truth about my postpartum depression: I was suicidal. Awful thoughts would cross my mind. What if I just took that entire bottle of Tylenol? Would I be able to hang myself from the rafters in our basement? Thankfully, I never once thought about harming my child. He was the bright part of my days. I didn't want to abandon him, but I was convinced that he deserved so much better than me. As if my just being in his life was somehow holding him back. Of course, that seems ridiculous now, but at the time thoughts like that consumed me.

My doctor pointed out that there's a difference between having suicidal thoughts and making a suicide plan. It never got that far for me, but it was terrifying. I felt so alone. I was so ashamed. I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone what I was thinking and feeling. I had this beautiful, healthy baby boy. What was wrong with me?

When Will was four months old, I finally agreed to see a counselor. She helped me get past my suicidal thoughts and gave me strategies to better cope with my intense sadness and anxiety. At this point, I was very resistant to taking medication. I was still breastfeeding, and I couldn't bear the thought of Will getting any of the drug through my breast milk (even though it's well documented as being safe for nursing mothers).

After a few months with my counselor, I was finally able to see a psychiatrist who specializes in postpartum depression (there was a three month wait to see her). At that point, it was apparent that environmental changes (diet, sleep, exercise) and therapy were not going to help my depression. Although my suicidal thoughts had subsided, I was still profoundly sad, anxious and unable to concentrate. After a lengthy conversation with the postpartum psychiatrist, we decided that I would be a good candidate for medication.

I now take a daily anti-depressent (Zoloft), which has helped me immensely. My concentration is back. I'm able to sleep at night. I'm not anxious. And I'm happy again.

As I tell Ben, anti-depressents don't make me a Stepford Wife (he wishes!). I still get angry or sad as the situation warrants. But I'm able to moderate my moods better. I don't feel like I'm about to fly off the deep end anymore. If I've forgotten to take my pills for a few days, I can totally tell. I feel more like myself on anti-depressants than off. For someone who initially fought medication hardcore, that's a really powerful statement.

Postpartum depression was a difficult journey for me, one that I'm reminded of every day when I take my medication. Not seeking help sooner is one of my biggest regrets. I wasted months of my life (and Will's) feeling sad, anxious and out of control. If you're struggling with postpartum depression or any mental health issue, please go talk to a professional about it. Even if you're not ready to take pills or start therapy, just tell someone. For me, small steps turned into big strides. And before I knew it, I was feeling better. Life is too short not to cherish every moment.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 16: Blogs You Visit Daily

 Day 16?!? I can't believe we're over half way done already!

Today's topic on the blog challenge is blogs you visit daily. Not surprisingly, all of mine are parenting/motherhood blogs, but here you go:
  1. Becoming Sarah: I adore her. She's an exceptional writer and takes stunning pictures. She writes very candidly about everyday life with her daughter, as well as the joys and challenges of motherhood. I love how she approaches her daughter's development, treating every day as a learning/teaching opportunity. She honestly inspires me to be a better mother.
  2. Beach Bum and Baby: I can't recall how I even found this blog, but our boys were born within a few days of each other in August 2010. I love seeing what her little Trey is up to. She's chic and crafty and seems like an all around cool person. She's the one who actually turned me on to the blog challenge, so thank you!
  3. Baby Food Scoops: This blog is written by two women I know locally. Jess and Nicole are passionate about food, family, nutrition, sustainability and creativity. Their posts are fresh, interesting and timely to my life. I always appreciate their tips and tricks for home and family fun.
  4. Ain't No Mom Jeans: These ladies rock. They cover all things related to mom style, including how to be a mom and still be stylish. I know that seems silly, but it's harder than it seems when you're leaking breast milk and covered in spit-up. They continue to provide great inspiration on how to select a comfortable, functional and stylish wardrobe.
  5. Rookie Moms: The Rookie Moms are amazing. Ah-mazing. Their handbook literally saved my life as a new stay-at-home mom. Even with a toddler, I still appreciate all their advice and insight. And their handbook is now my number one baby shower gift.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 15: Tips for a New Blogger

Today on the blog challenge, we're sharing tips for a new blogger. I've been blogging for two years now, and I'm still learning what works and what doesn't. But for those just starting out, here's my advice:
  1. Be yourself. The best blogs are written with an authentic voice. Don't try and be or sound like someone you're not.
  2. Blog with a consistent theme. The blogs I read most have an overarching subject or emphasis area (cooking, design, parenting, etc). My blog is mostly about my son and being a mother. Not to say you can't talk about other things, but having a focus helps guide your writing.
  3. Post plenty of pictures. People love pictures. They probably love your writing too, but pictures make a post so much more interesting. Design studies show that people scan websites for images they like and then read the text, so pictures could actually help up your readership. Admittedly, I need to be better at this too (e.g. no picture for today's post).
Most important of all, just get writing! Happy blogging!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 14: Looking Forward

Today on the blog challenge, we're sharing something we're looking forward to. For me, it's got to be the holidays.

Don't get me wrong, I love fall. I don't want to wish it away. I love cozy sweaters, crisp afternoons, squash and apples. I love the changing colors and cooler nights. I love it all. But I love the holidays so, so, so much.

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is pure magic to me. Not only do Ben and I celebrate our anniversary during that time, but I love all the sparkle and tradition of the season. I love pulling out all my Christmas decoration and dressing the tree. I love making special dishes and treats for my loved ones. I love carefully picking out gifts. I love spending time with friends and family, reflecting on years past and making new memories for the future. I love cultivating our own traditions and watching Christmas through the eyes of our sweet little boy. Like I said, it's pure magic.

To get us all in the spirit, here are a few of my favorite holiday-inspired images from Pinterest. I'm so excited that I have an actual fireplace to decorate this year. Even better, it's a two-sided fireplace, so I get two mantels to play with! Ho, ho, ho!

Modern red and lime green (courtesy of Frugal Home Design)
Red and aqua table (courtesy of Martha Stewart Living) 
Silver and green mantel (courtesy of Centsational Girl) 
Colorful, modern door decor (courtesy of The Crafters File Box)
Stunning staircase (courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 13: Religion

Today on the blog challenge we're talking religion. Actually, the prompt was "your favorite bible verse or quote", but I'm amending it a little.

I went through a period in high school where I was really into church and bible study, but religion has fallen by the wayside for me in the last decade. I have always believed in God (or some higher power), but I would consider myself more spiritual than religious.

After Will was born, I felt a pull to join a church community again, so Ben and I became members at a local First Congregational Church. We love our church community. It's very laid back, warm and welcoming. There's no judgement if you make it every Sunday or only on holidays (we're somewhere in the middle). And the pastors (a husband and wife team) are awesome. At our congregation, there is a big emphasis on tolerance and kindness, two values that I hope to pass on to Will.

I find scripture interesting, but the literal interpretation of religion is not why I'm there. For me, church is meditative. I use church as a means to reflect, find peace and prepare for the week ahead. I always leave feeling centered and ready to face whatever challenges await.

I grew up in a church community and I really want that for Will. I want a group of people (outside of our friends and family) that care about him and want him to succeed. That's what I got from church as a child. As an adult, I've struggled to find my relationship with God, but I'm working on it. I'm thankful we have a church home that can help me explore my faith without pressure or judgement.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 12: Goals for the Next Year

I took a break from the blog challenge yesterday to write sweet baby Will's 13 month letter. But I'm back today talking about my goals for the next year.

The biggest goal I have right now is to finish my master's degree. I'm currently on track to graduate in December 2012, which is so exciting. I'm only about half way done, but the end is in sight!

Other goals I have for myself...
  • Join the sustainability committee in our new town. They have really ambitious goals for promoting more sustainable living in our community. I'd love to be a part of their efforts. Plus, I love local government. I used to watch city council meetings on cable access for fun (I'm a nerd, I know).
  • Run a half marathon. I was training for a half marathon this summer, but between graduate school and chasing after Will, I wasn't able to get in the training time needed. It's still a goal of mine, but it might have to wait until I have a little less on my plate.
  • Keep a cleaner house. Don't get me wrong, it's not like our place is an episode of "Hoarders" or anything, but I could stand to keep things a little cleaner (especially with a toddler running around). My goal is to keep up with the clutter and do more frequent maintenance cleaning (vacuuming, washing floors, dusting, etc). I have some incentive since my MIL will be at our house once a week now taking care of Will. She would never judge me for keeping things a little unkept, but I still want the house looking good when she's here.  :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

13 Months Old

Dear Will,

It was a big month for you. HUGE even. And for once, I know just where to begin...

After being a late roller, late sitter, late crawler and late stander, you shocked us all by taking your first steps just a few weeks after your first birthday. From those first few tentative steps you gained confidence quickly, and you are now practically running everywhere. You have one speed: fast. Which means you have quite a few bumps and bruises to show for your newfound mobility.

You still crawl 40-50 percent of the time, but you crawl with authority now. You crawl super fast, smacking your hands and knees into the floor, letting out a loud "Tarzan" yell as you go. You'll be toddling around and then all of sudden I'll hear a bunch of banging and "ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh" echoing through the house.

You started pointing to objects this month, but it's still more of a whole hand reach than a point. You remain obsessed with airplanes, trucks and anything with wheels. You "oooh" and "ahhh" whenever you see something you like, reaching your hand to the object of your affection and looking back at me like "Mama, did you see that?!?"

We ended formula in the past month, which means you are now exclusively on organic whole milk. We also tried ditching bottles at the same time, but you just weren't having it. We try and give you a sippy cup at every meal, but you almost always insist on a bottle instead.

You still don't have any real words, but you babble and make sounds at us all the time. If I ask what the cow says, you say "ma". And although practically everything is "ba" these days, sometimes I'm convinced you're actually saying "ball", "bath" or "book". You also mimic words and sounds, repeating the ones you especially like. We love to get you to say "hush" over and over. It sounds so cute!

We continue to read a million books a day and work on baby sign language. Your favorite books this month are "Farm Peekaboo", "Count" and "Peek-A-Who?". Though you aren't using any signs yet, you do know what many of them mean, including milk, book, more and all done.

You continue to be a fairly picky eater, though you're finally eating more in each sitting. Your tastes change daily (heck, even hourly), so I never know what you're going to want from one meal to the next. You continue to love cheese, bread and yogurt. We monopolize on this by mixing pureed vegetables in with your yogurt so at least you're getting something green every day. Your favorite fruits this month were strawberries, blueberries and grapes. You're still not crazy about meats, though I've found if they have a sauce or seasoning on them, you're more likely to have a few bites. My little foodie baby doesn't care for anything bland!

You're now showing the early signs of tantrums. When something doesn't go your way, you flop yourself on the floor and start to cry, or (our favorite) you go limp in our arms so it's nearly impossible to hold onto you. Luckily these tantrums are still short lived when your attention is diverted to a favorite toy or something interesting outside, but we can see the emotional turmoil of toddlerhood on the horizon.

We started swimming lessons, which was an epic failure at first, but is getting better. You went through a period where you hated baths a few weeks ago, but swimming seems to have fixed that. You love to be in the tub now, playing with your toys and kicking your feet. Before you get in the tub, Daddy does a "1-2-3" countdown with you, during which you bounce up and down because you're so excited.

You started giving hugs on command this month, which is just too sweet for words. I'll ask, "Can Mama have a hug?" and you'll reach your arms around my neck and put your head on my shoulder. Swoon. We're working on giving kisses now too, but they usually end up being open-mouth slobbers then anything else. Regardless, I love it.

You have this hysterical fake-sounding laugh that you use when you get excited or want to get our attention. It's literally a breathy, over-emphasized "ha ha!" I think you use it often just to ham it up. It's so fun to watch your little personality shine through.

Another month of pure joy watching you grow. You are such a beautiful, curious, sweet little boy. You are our whole world. Daddy and I love you so much.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 10: My Husband

My Ben. He's such a good man. Hardworking, kind, handsome and funny. And arguably the world's best father.

We met our freshman year in college at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. We lived in the same dorm, though he was a floor above me. We were fast friends and had a serious flirtation over the next few years, until we finally gave in and started dating in 2003.

College graduation (2005)
We moved in together after we graduated from college, and Ben proposed to me on Christmas Eve 2005. Our wedding was 11 months later on December 2, 2006.

Our Wedding Day (2006)
In the years since we've had two houses, one beautiful son, one crazy Great Dane, some gnarly fights and too many good times to list. I can honestly say that Ben is my best friend. Our relationship isn't always easy, but I know, even in the hard times, that he always has my back. We love each other unconditionally, which goes a long way when you're trudging through the tough stuff.

Vacation in Door County, Wisconsin (2008)
Christmas (2009)
Will's birth day (2010)
What I've learned in the last five years of marriage is this: be kind (no low blows) and make every effort to grow together. Support each other's dreams. Hold on to what made you fall in love the first place. And bank plenty of good memories to get you through the tough stuff.

I love you, my darling. Thank you for being wonderful you.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 9: Favorite TV Shows


Today we're talking favorite TV shows on the September blog challenge. Here's what's on my must-watch list...

1) Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy
Best show ever. No joke.

It's about a motorcycle club in California. The characters are rough and tough like you'd expect, but the show also plays up more unexpected themes like family, love and loyalty. So good!

We don't have cable anymore, so we started watching SOA on Netflix earlier this year. We were hooked instantly. They only have Seasons 1 and 2 right now, so we can't wait to get Season 3. If you have cable, Season 4 is airing right now on FX.

2) Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy
I've been a Grey's fan since Season 1. The early episodes are just so awesome. I've been a little underwhelmed in recent seasons, but I still love the characters and the premise, so I continue to watch.

3) Modern Family

Modern Family
Well acted. Hysterically written. Great show. Enough said.

4) The Office

The Office
The Office is a favorite in our house. In fact, when Will was a newborn, we pretty much played episodes of The Office continuously on Netflix. I thought this last season was pretty good (I loved the episode where Michael proposed to Holly), but I'm unsure about the show without Steve Carell. The other characters are strong, so I'm hoping it works. But Michael Scott is such an integral character, it's hard to imagine the show without him.

5) Glee

Yes, I'm a "Gleek". But what's not to like about Glee? It's attractive people singing a bunch of popular songs. It's like going to see good cover band every week. And I love how they cover relevant social issues on the show. I think they've done a particularly good job with bullying and LGBTQ youth.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 8: A Picture of Your Friends

I'm fortunate to have many wonderful friends from different stages of my life (college, our pre-baby party days, being a stay-at-home mom), but I'll post a photo of these girls since we were just together a few weeks ago...

High school buddies (2011)

These are my dear girlfriends from high school. We get together every year for a weekend sleepover. We've been doing it since 2002, and it's always one of the highlights on my summer. There's something really awesome about spending time with people who have known you since you were a gawky, brace-faced teenager.

Our friendship just keeps getting deeper as we get older. And now we get to celebrate each other's exciting life events together (note Alyssa's cute pregnant belly above).

We all live relatively close (two in Wisconsin and three in Minnesota), but with families and careers and life in general, we only see each other a few times a year. We stay in touch via email (our message chains are generally hysterical), but what I love most about our friendship is that we get together and never miss a beat. It's like we hadn't been apart. I love them all so dearly.